Blog Post 9

(Sorry for the late post, I had the flu last week.)




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CO 350

Spring, 13



BP  9


The PRSA Code of Ethics

  • Go to PRSA website (Mycampus link), on the top bar:
    1. Click on “intelligence”
    2. Click on “ethics”
    3. Click on “code of ethics”
  • Print the code of ethics
  • Consider the case study of “ethical malpractice” that you are reporting on, and be prepared to answer the following:
  1. Which of the values do you think was violated in your malpractice case?

My agency violated the honesty section of the PRSA code of ethics when it called the opposing party “reptilian kitten eaters from another planet.”  Even though the statement was obviously false and meant to be a joke, it lacked a certain maturity and responsibility on shedding light on the truth of what their opponent actually is, and why they are opposed to them.  It also violated fairness.  It is not fair to shed that kind of vulgar, negative light on another individual.


  1. Which item in the code of provisions was violated in your malpractice case?

This client violated the provision of advancing the profession.  Immaturity and misrepresentation of a client or an opponent does not further the profession and decreases the appeal.


“Parkinson’s Critique of the PRSA code” (Mycampus file)


  1. What did Olasky claim was the purpose of an Ethics code?

Olasky claimed that the purpose of an ethics code was to establish public relations as a profession to outside viewers.  He claimed that the code shed a positive light on the ethics of the profession to these outside observers and therefore improved its images. 


  1. What did Wright claim was the purpose of an Ethics code?

Wright claimed that the purpose of the code of ethics was to make public relations look good to the outside world and to make the practitioners to feel good about their practice and the ethics of it.


  1. Why does Parkinson think that the PRSA has an Ethics code?

Parkinson that the PRSA has an ethics code because practitioners believe that observers have a negative view of the practices of public relations.  There is a code of ethics to improve the image to observers and to help the members feel better about their actions.


  1. Acccording to Parkinson, the PRSA code is about?



  1. According to Parkinson, “for one to be a member of the public relations profession one must have professional obligations that . . . .” what?

“supercede ethical obligations imposed on persons or publics outside the profession.”


  1. According to Parkinson, how are attorneys and public relations practitioners similar?

Both law and public relations are communication-based professions.  Both are advocates for a client.  Attorneys are hired to advocate for a client on trial or being a plaintiff and public relations practitioners are hired for advocating their client.  The attorneys hold court for a journey and the public relations practitioners are responsible for the court of the public opinion.


  1. In law, the “Cannons of Professional Responsibility” are
    1. A code of professional ethics


  1. According to Parkinson, what does the PRSA code pledge lack?

The PRSA code pledge lacks a description of the professional obligation to the client which it is advocating.  It also lacks a statement of enforcement for violation of the code of ethics.


  1. Explain the difference between “homo economicus” and “homo politicus”

Homo economicus is the belief that humans are driven by self-interested and will act in according to the way that will allow them to get the most benefits for themselves.  Homo politicus is the school of thought that believes that humans are driven by the desire to further the public good and will make decisions that will maximize the benefits for all. 


    1. How can “homo economicus”, in the end, work for the good of all

When people make decisions that will maximize their own self-interest, such as in voting, then the majority of people who vote for things that will maximize their own interests have voted for something that is good for the public interest.


    1. Which of the two does the legal profession practice?

Homo economicus.  The legal profession believes that when two attorneys are presenting information that maximizes the benefits for their client that the truth will be revealed and the jury will choose the client who is truthful.


    1. Which of the two is the PRSA code based on?

The PRSA code is based on homo politicus.  This thought has very little faith in the court of the public opinion and view public relations practitioners’ first responsibility to the public rather than the client.


    1. According to Parkinson, what are the weaknesses of “homo politicus,” especially as it relates to PR?

This school of thought asserts that there is one public with the best interest to act on.  This ignores the possibility that multiple publics with conflicting interests might have the similar right to be advocated.  There is also the chance of not knowing what the public interest is, and without knowing what the public interest is, there is a danger in practicing public relations.


  1. According to Parkinson, what is the legal dilemma of the PRSA code?

The lack of asserting a loyalty to the client over loyalty to the public interest puts the practitioner in a place where they are forced to tell the truth regarding their clients and violate any legal confidentiality agreement that they might agree to with the client.


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